Early Care and Education E-Update, January 2011
Across the States
Early Childhood 101 Webinar
NCSL is hosting a 60 minute briefing on January 28, 2011 at 2:00 ET for new legislators and new chairs designed to help get them up to speed on what states are doing to promote early childhood development and school readiness and what resources are available from NCSL. This will be a fast paced orientation to share trends, policy approaches, and ideas for legislators as you begin your sessions. Please pass this invitation on to any of your new colleagues that you think might be interested. For more information or to register for this webinar, visit http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=21935 or email Stephen Fagan.
Early Childhood 101
States are at the forefront of recent advances in early childhood issues. Armed with compelling brain research and economic and evaluation findings, lawmakers are improving services, designing new programs, and expanding investments to support children’s development and early learning and to support working families.
The resources found on this page are designed to help legislators who are unfamiliar with early childhood policy learn about more about: child care, prekindergarten, home visiting, infant and toddler issues, data systems, early childhood advisory councils, and early childhood budgets.
Coordinated State Early Care and Education Data Systems
Data are a vital resource in state efforts to reduce the school readiness gap and bolster educational achievement for all children. From the classroom to the legislature, stakeholders can use data about young children, early childhood programs and the workforce to improve the effectiveness of early care and education.
Stakeholders, however, often struggle to obtain data that will answer even basic questions about their state’s public early care and education (ECE) system. Current ECE data systems were created to satisfy reporting requirements for a variety of state and federal agencies. Therefore, the information housed in these systems usually is uncoordinated, dated and focused on program compliance. To support state reform efforts, ECE data systems need to be coordinated, longitudinal and linked to education and workforce information (P-20/W data systems). Such changes to ECE systems can promote data-driven decision making to improve the quality of programs and the workforce, increase access to services and, ultimately, help children develop to their fullest potential. To help states with this transformation, The Early Childhood Data Collaborative recently released specific guidance about the systems, including child, workforce and program site information. Read more
2011 Votes Count
This annual report from the Pew Center on the States identifies major themes among the states and provides in-depth analysis of the best examples. This year, one trend is dominating nationwide: States are facing ongoing budget challenges and dramatic political shifts, and the future of early education hangs in the balance. Read more
Across the States
Wisconsin Legislature Approves Increased Funding for YoungStar
Recently, the Wisconsin Joint Committee on Finance approved a second round of funding ($4 million) to continue implementation of the state’s quality rating and improvement system, YoungStar. The Committee also approved a 5-year sustainability plan, with some minor modifications. So now all $10 million for YoungStar start-up has been approved and released by the Committee. The plan includes funding for quality incentive payments based on star levels, as well as technical assistance, training and mini-grants.
Oregon Considers Connections between Early Learning and K-12
On Tuesday, December 7, 2010 NCSL staff participated in a legislative Education Summit hosted by members of the House and Senate in Oregon. The full day meeting was held on the Willamette University campus and included a range of education topics. The panel, From the Beginning: Education Reform Begins with Early Education included Steffanie Clothier from NCSL, Don Grotting, superintendent of the David Douglas School District, and Annie Soto, Executive Director of the Head Start of Lane County. NCSL shared information about approaches to school readiness across the country and how districts and states can design connections between early learning and the early grades by considering teacher credentials and supports, standards for early learning, Kindergarten and the early grades, literacy and behavioral supports for learning, and how accountability and data systems can support children’s progress. Read more
Minnesota Task Force Weighs New Governance Structure
NCSL, in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, has been working with a legislatively created Office of Early Learning Task Force which was charged with developing recommendations for changes to the current agency structure for early childhood programs. Agency governance is one component of the planning process that is being considered in order to meet the state’s goal of having all children ready for kindergarten by 2020. In addition to task force meetings, the project conducted public comment sessions around the state and consulted with agency officials and experts from other states as part of the group’s deliberations. The task force will report to the legislature by January 15, 2010. See the task force report to the Early Childhood Advisory Committee. Click here to see a summary of the law creating the task force.
The Science of Early Learning
NCSL staff participated in a joint meeting of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs convened by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. The meeting was a terrific mix of brain and developmental research as well as discussion about what interventions are working. The topics included a focus on the neurological and developmental research on the development of behavioral and emotional skills commonly referred to as executive function skills. It also included discussion of new findings from interventions designed to improve these skills in young children. These skills include foundational learning skills such as attention (the ability to attend to a task), working memory (the ability to hold a rule in mind), and self regulation (the ability to interact with others, take direction, work with peers etc). NCSL is working in partnership with the Center on the Developing Child and will be sharing more information about our new Early Childhood Innovation Partnership in the next E-Update. Read more
NCSL is Available to Your Committee
NCSL is available to come to your committee to talk about trends and policy ideas on early childhood development and early learning. Please contact us if you would like us to update your committee, provide an orientation to the issues, or help you think through next steps for your state. NCSL has a limited amount of grant funds that can pay for travel to your state. For more information, please contact Steffanie Clothier or call (303)856-1416.